These crispy buffalo chicken tenders are seriously everyone’s favorite appetizer and dinner! Read on for the secret to making them super crispy like your favorite restaurant, for half the calories!
If I know you as well as I think I do–which is technically speaking not at all–then you can’t live without a crispy chicken finger. The basis of this judgment has been drawn from my conclusion that all living, breathing organisms have innate tendencies to seek three very crucial things: water, air, and buffalo chicken.
I draw all types of scientific conclusions.
Next time I’ll tell you about the theory of relativity as illustrated through cupcakes.
But today, we turn our bright eyes to the chicken finger. The crisp-crusted, moist and tender-middled, fiery red sauce-slathered, the someone-get-me-a-bib-and-for-cryin’-out-loud-where’s-the-damn-blue-cheese-dip?!?…chicken finger.
Here’s my methodology: Lots of healthy chicken tenders are baked. I get that. I appreciate that. And I love comfort food makeovers. Really I do.
But I’ve never bitten into a baked tender that altogether satisfied my intense cravings for foods that end in cutesy words like stix and dippers, and generally any soul-soothing noshable at a pub.
So I don’t want to solely bake these chicken fingers. But I don’t want to fully fry them either. What I’ve discovered is the magic of partially pan-frying. To do this, I cook the chicken a little more than halfway on the stove top in a modest amount of oil because I want a browned and crisped crust, but don’t necessarily want them to be drenched in oil, as tempting as that may be. The reason I don’t cook them completely in the pan is because that would require them staying in the hot pan for a lengthy amount of time, and unless I use a lot of oil, the fingers have a tendency to burn.
The beauty is that I’m still developing that golden brown, faintly greasy crust, and the tenders stay on the healthier side of things. Searing the breading on both sides allows me to lock in the moisture of the bird while still developing a crunchy coating. I then finish them in the oven so that they cook through. And then I dunk them in spicy, orange-hued hot sauce and dip them in creamy, cool blue cheese dressing.
Just come over and I’ll make you some. We’ll watch Bill Nye and talk science.
Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast tenderloins
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large egg whites beaten with 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- ⅔ cup plain dried bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon steak seasoning I like Montreal Steak Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup hot sauce I like Frank’s Red Hot
- Preheat your oven to 400° F. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and set it on top of a large baking sheet.
- Place 3 shallow bowls in a row. Fill the first with the flour, the second with the egg and hot sauce, and the third with the bread crumbs mixed with steak seasoning.
- One by one, lightly dredge each tenderloin first in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip it into the egg, and finally press it into the bread crumbs, taking care to coat both sides. Place the coated tenderloin on a plate and repeat the process with the remaining chicken.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat, and add half of the chicken, spacing them evenly. Only add half of the chicken so you do not overcrowd your pan. Cook the chicken, undisturbed, until they develop a nice crispy crust on one side, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat the cooking process with the remaining half of the tenderloins.
- Place all of the chicken on the prepared rack and bake until the chicken is crispy and completely baked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Fill a shallow bowl with the hot sauce. Dip each tender into the hot sauce, just to quickly coat. Set the pieces back on the wire rack until you have finished coating all the chicken. Serve immediately with blue cheese dressing for dipping and a side of celery sticks.
We used to get buffalo wings from a local pizzeria every Tuesday night. There’s nothing more satisfying than hot wings with cool bleu cheese sauce. This looks ridiculously comforting.
You take the most gorgeous pictures!! My husband is going to thank you for this recipe!
Husband would LOVE these. Heck, so would I!
You… are my hero.
These look delish! Yum! I will try them one day! I also pan fry briefly and then pop in the oven! Seems to dry out some of the excess oil!
Can I just say you are hilarious? I love your blog and I love the commentary that accompanies your fantastic recipes. As a physicist, I would be very happy to hear your cupcake relativity theory! ;)
Haha thanks Tamar! I’m so glad you’re willing to put up with my shenanigans!!
Fantastic recipe – seems you are making all our husbands happy ;-)
These look rediculously perfect! I can’t wait to try them. :D
How insanely delicious! I love that you pan fried them. I see these in my near future!
My daughter, the queen of chicken fingers, would love this!! Love your technique – I am definitely going to make these for her!
Have a great weekend!
These look amazing! I never thought to toss them in hot sauce after cooking them like that. Great idea!
Ok I have a question – with all the mouth watering scrumptious food you make – how do you stop from eating it all? Do you give it away? Have roommates/spouse that eats most of it? Freeze it? I think that is my biggest problem – portions – I would want to eat more and more of it :)
Hi Kim! Great question. I almost always make a four-serving meal, and I portion each serving out into tupperware containers to eat during the week. Daniel, my boyfriend who I live with, loves to reheat them, as do I, for a lunch or a quick weeknight dinner. Each of us eats about 5 to 6 meals per day, so having extra meals ready is perfect. Things like lasagna and enchiladas- lots of casserole type things- will freeze beautifully. Other times, I’ll just make two servings of something and then write the recipe for four, since I know that most people are making meals for a family. Four servings seems to be the standard in recipe writing. Hope that helps!
we love buffalo chicken in this house. I can’t wait to make it. My family will be so happy.
My husband is going to LOVE this recipe! :)
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drool drool…looks absolutely delicious!
Love the simplicity and ease of the recipes here!! High quality food with low quality clean up! Take that Rachel ray!
My boyfriend made these last night and they were really good! I dipped mine in a little combo of some non-fat plain Greek yogurt, some chopped up fresh dill from my patio garden, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a squirt of whole-grain mustard. It worked really nicely to cool off the buffalo chicken. Thanks for the great idea!
Bill Nye! You totally made my day. My brother and I used to watch Bill religiously! :) I recently stumbled across your blog and am in love. I have bookmarked several recipes and can’t wait to make them. Thank you for the laughs, inspiration to better myself and yummy recipes!
This recipe was awesome! We made them last night and they were a thumbs up from my entire clan, which is rare! And we know good wings, my husband is from Buffalo.
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I made these for my boyfriend tonight–he loved them. We are such a fan of Buffalo Wild Wings, and he said they tasted just like them! I was a little hesitant on the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, but next time I won’t be. Bring on the heat!
This is the first time I’ve had chicken turn out so perfectly moist and delicious! I’m making my own tenders to satisfy junk food cravings from now on :)
Hi, I was wondering if you knew how many calories this recipe consisted of. It look delicious!
I have been doing this forever, my only change is that I marinade the chicken in hot wing sauce then dredge in just the bread crumbs! AMAZING!!!!
Made this last night! My fiancé LOVES wings & kept saying how great this chicken was:)) Will be making these again!!
My husband loved this recipe! And I did also. This one is definitely going in my recipe box.
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YUM! Made these for lunch today – and leftovers are topping my lunch salads this week, yay. I used BWW Desert Heat seasoning in Panko breadcrumbs instead of steak seasoning. Fabulously, but not overly, spicy along with the Frank’s. And PERFECTLY moist with a crunchy surface. Perfect, thank you.
I made these tonight and the taste was great but my breading did not stick at all.. Any suggestions?
Just finished these and LOVED THEM! Love the idea of putting hot sauce in the egg wash – nice suttle flavor so I left some plain after they were finished and they tasted great! Hubby liked them so we’ve confirmed that they will be added to our make soon again list…i cubed the chicken to make them into boneless wings as opposed to cutlets and they were perfect for Sunday football!
Follow up – used the leftover chicken and madenbuffalomchicken pizza…it was great!
I just made these and they were AWESOME! I love buffalo wings and this was a flavorful and delicious alternative. Chili’s wings used to be my favorite before I realized how terrible there were for you and these are just as good – probably even better! I will be making these often!
Delicious! I only had full chicken breasts so I cut them in strips. Because they are thicker than tenderloins I just had to cook a little longer. I also didn’t have steak seasoning so I used a Cajun blend instead. I am definitely putting these on regular rotation!
I have a Question about the steak seasoning. Not sure what to use and where in the recipe is it used?
I used the steak seasoning to flavor the breadcrumbs (simply whisk the two together). Steak seasoning is just a blend of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, and other spices. It’s not necessary that you use it; you can feel free to just season your own breadcrumbs liberally with those spices before coating your chicken.
Hope this helps,
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So good – we made them two nights in a row!
I don’t know what I did wrong. My chicken came out still uncooked and I had it in the oven for almost 15 min. Still watery.
Oh no! I’m sorry to hear it, Leticia. I wonder–did you cut the chicken into thin enough strips? Not sure if that might have been the problem?
I used chicken tenders. Does the roaster make a difference?
I meant roasting pan
I tried the buffalo chicken tenders but instead of frying, I put them on the grill which saves calories and the oily smell in the kitchen. Five minutes on each side then coat them in the sauce then back on the grill to finish them off and dry the sauce. Came out great. Great personal story by the way.
We’re currently having these for dinner (for the 4th time since I pinned the recipe six weeks ago…) and they are a.ma.zing. every time! My husband said we should send you a dollar in the mail for the fantastic recipe. My 2 year old and 4 year old both love them (I make them without sauce for them). My only complaint: there never seem to be enough! ;)
I made these today and what an incredible tender! This is the best buffalo chicken anything I’ve ever had and I consider myself quite the authority on buffalo chicken things. I used Lousiana Supreme Garlic Wing Sauce, McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning and Kikkoman Panko Bread Crumbs.. fried it up in a bit of EVOO. Each bite I took I was more and more impressed and mindblown by the flavor! This recipe is a very upscale version of the usual pub wing. So thrilled to have it in my collection. Thanks for sharing!!
These were awesome!
Just found your website through pinterest – amazing!!!! Do you have any idea what the calorie count of these suckers would be? Just add the value of the oil to the recipe? Thanks a mil!
Just found your blog! Your recipes look wonderful, your story amazing, and I LOVE your sense of humor. Thank you!
My Australian hubby (australians don’t like spicy food… but mine does… WIN!!!) will be THRILLED when he comes home from work tonight. I’ll be lucky if I even get a bite!! So excited to try this recipe. Thanks for the inspiration!
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Looks delicious. I gonna try this with shrimp !
These are so good! Eating them a we speak! Only comment I would say is that the title is a little misleading. Don’t say they are baked when they are really fried. Baked chicken indicates that it is a healthier alternative, but when you fry them in oil it’s not all that healthy. You should change the title. Just my opinion.
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Making these for a second time! Thanks!!
I just made these, they were easy and fantastic! Will be a favorite during football season!
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I made these tonight– my boyfriend said it was exactly what you would get in a restaurant! I used panko bread crumbs seasoned with Lawry’s seasoned salt. Used Kroger brand mild wing sauce–Frank’s is too spicy for me. Best thing I’ve ever made thank you!
What side can I make with these???
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I made these tonight as my weekend fun food. OMG! These taste better then fried! Delicious!
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I’m definitely late on finding this recipe but I made this last night as as boneless chicken bites mans they came out great! Since I made smaller pieces, I pan cooked for 2.5 minutes on each side, then popped in the oven for 7 minutes and they were perfectly cooked.
Love the heat!
Hi so I just wanted to clarify that you beat only the egg whites with the buffalo sauce? To a fluffy peak or not?
How much is a serving? 3? 4? 1?
I fried it in my instapot first on the sear feature so it didnt splatter all over my stove and then put it in the oven. Honestly, I didn’t even need to put it in the oven cause it was yummy just in the IP.
These were amazing!! Thank you for sharing your recipe. Great to enjoy some of our favorite restaurant food while quarantined at home.
So… these are amazing! (so are you!) Thank you Andie! My chicken game is at an all new level.
I love this so much thanks Andie!
This is the best buffalo chicken recipe I have found. I used it to make my husband buffalo chicken wraps for his lunch. He’s going to love it. I ate some of the extra chicken left and it was delicious!!!
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